Huge 10 schedule: USC to open at Michigan in ’24
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
- Elder WriterNov 2, 2023, 05:52 PM ET Close College football reporter.
- Signed up with ESPN.com in 2008.
- Graduate of Northwestern University.USC will visit Michigan in its first Huge Ten conference game, while UCLA will make 2 cross-country trips and Oregon-Washington will be featured throughout competition weekend of the Big 10’s 2024 football schedule, which the league unveiled Thursday.The league’s first schedule with 18 members, each playing nine conference games, was formed using the Flex Protect XVIII design, which includes 12 annual protected competitions and a robust rotation to prevent the long gaps in between pairings present in other conferences. The Big Ten likewise guaranteed that any team from the Eastern or Central time zone taking a trip to the West Coast, and any of the 4 West Coast additions– USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington– traveling east would have either a home game or an open week following the prolonged trips. Both the 2024 and 2025 seasons include two open weeks per group, which made the scheduling procedure simpler, Big 10 chief operating officer Kerry Kenny told ESPN.”The 2 main components that we were asked to hit were the geographic and travel balance and after that also the competitive balance,”Kenny said.
“Clearly, in a schedule with teams that are this competitive and this deep there’s always going to be pockets of hard stretches and something that, on paper right now, based upon the way teams look, it’s always going to make it seem a little bit harder or perhaps a little easier than it might play out.Editor’s Picks
“However our task as schedulers are to put as much of the concepts into the schedule that we’re asked to actually handle, and I think we did that, particularly on the travel side.”
8 teams in the Eastern or Central time zones have open weeks after their only West Coast trips, and the other 6 have home games. The four West Coast teams will not play consecutive road games in 2024. UCLA, which opens its season Aug. 31 at Hawai’i, will travel to Penn State on Oct. 5 and to Rutgers on Oct. 19, but will host Minnesota on Oct. 12 and have an open week after the Rutgers game.Two Pac-12 competition games fall under the safeguarded category– Oregon-Washington and UCLA-USC– and USC and Washington likewise will fulfill Nov. 2 in Seattle. Oregon and USC will not play each other in 2024, a choice Kenny said was based upon creating a rotation where brand-new members would play existing members “more regularly and earlier.”
“We’ve really found that playing each other more, not less, and doing it as quickly as you can, to get these brand-new institutions to play in our historic venues and our current members to play in these new locations, that’s what assists make a conference become a more cohesive conference right off the bat,” Kenny said.USC will open Big Ten have fun with Michigan (road), Wisconsin (home), Minnesota (roadway)and Penn State (home), while Oregon will face both Ohio State( Oct. 12 in the house) and Michigan (Nov. 2 on the roadway) in a four-week stretch. Washington’s very first November schedule in the Big 10 consists of each of 3 other West Coast additions plus a Nov. 9 journey to Penn State.The USC-UCLA game will take place Nov. 23 so that USC can complete its routine season by hosting rival Notre Dame. Kenny stated,”in an ideal world, “the Big 10 would like to have USC-UCLA on competition weekend, alongside Ohio State-Michigan, Purdue-Indiana, Wisconsin-Minnesota, Iowa-Nebraska and now Oregon-Washington. UCLA, which traditionally plays a Pac-12 challenger in years where USC completes with Notre Dame, moved a nonleague game with Fresno State to Nov. 30, and will open Big Ten play in Week 3 when it hosts Indiana.The 2024 schedule does not consist of a conference game throughout opening weekend and just one in Week 2 (Michigan State at Maryland)and Week 3 (Indiana at UCLA). Kenny stated working around existing nonleague games was a difficulty in crafting the schedule, along with sequencing games versus predicted Leading 25 teams.”We’re making assumptions based on teams on paper today and brand names, however that’s always a factor to consider,”Kenny said. “However that’s constantly a consideration, attempting to spread out the stock throughout the season in such a way that works for each specific program, however also for the conference as a whole. “The Huge 10 schedule includes only one
validated Friday game in Iowa-Nebraska, which has traditionally occurred the day after Thanksgiving and will happen Nov. 29, 2024. However the Big Ten will fill additional Friday slots, regardless of some opposition from its coaches because of traditional high school games.”Technically we can go to a game a week on Fridays,”Kenny stated.
“Whether or not that in fact gets activated is all dependent on some of the discussions between us, and primarily Fox is our Friday partner. However the capability to have a game weekly on a Friday would exist with this brand-new schedule.”Kenny stated the Huge 10 likely would announce its 2025 schedule throughout
the 2024 season.